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Lessons in Entrepreneurship from Poker – Game Selection

Posted on:January 9, 2024

A crucial aspect of playing poker professionally is game selection, which is closely tied to bankroll management. With limited hours in the day to hit the tables, it’s vital to choose games with the highest potential return based on your abilities and various other factors.

The most obvious of those factors, while sometimes being the toughest to actually evaluate, is the skill level of other players at the table. There’s also the cost and your own proficiency in that specific type of game. For example, playing Heads Up, tournaments, cash games, Hold’em, Omaha, or other variants all require different approaches. The game’s structure also matters, such as the speed at which blinds increase in a tournament or its payout structure and rules. Availability plays a role too; can you play this game consistently or are there limited opportunities? Factor in whether you’re playing online or at a physical casino, and consider promotions, rewards, time of day, and even the day of the week. And that’s really just the tip of the ice berg.

I should note that excessive game selection, known as “bum hunting”, can harm the poker ecosystem by discouraging casual players from participating – much like overfishing. This issue has likely contributed to the decline in online poker’s popularity. But I digress…

The point is that you realize that you could spend the same amount of time and money, with the same absolute level of skill, and have wildly different results. This concept has clear parallels with business, startups, and product development.

In the early stages of business, resources are typically scarce, so choosing your battles wisely is critical. But even as businesses grow larger, trade-offs and constraints persist.

For instance, you’ll often hear advice against spending time on building parts of your product that are undifferentiated. That’s why there’s a whole industry of software as a service solutions offering everything from authentication to payments, performance monitoring, file hosting, and on and on and on. The reason behind this is simple: people understand that game selection is crucial. It’s as important in entrepreneurship as it is in poker. So, choose wisely and focus on what makes what you do truly stand out.